One Year Ago: Cody Defeated Wardlow

On the February 19th, 2020 edition of Dynamite, AEW presented its first steel cage match. In this match, Cody defeated Wardlow as part of the storyline with MJF. The show was held at the State Farm Arena in Cody’s home state of Georgia. The hometown crowd was firmly in the corner of the American Nightmare as he defeated Wardlow in the main event of the show.

Buildup

The rivalry between MJF and Cody started at Full Gear in November of 2019. MJF was in Cody’s corner as he took on Chris Jericho for the AEW World Championship. Jericho locked Cody in “Liontamer” to attempt the submission victory. As Cody struggled to get out of the hold MJF tossed in the towel on behalf of Cody, ending the match. Per the stipulation set before the match, Cody would never be able to challenge for the World Championship again. MJF entered the ring to console Cody before hitting him with a low blow and fully turning on Cody. Cody called MJF out on Dynamite for his actions only to be attacked by MJF’s new bodyguard, Wardlow.

The feud between Cody and MJF continued with Cody wanting a match against MJF at Revolution. MJF agreed to match under three stipulations. Cody would not be able to touch MJF until the match, he would take 10 lashings on live TV and need to face Wardlow in a cage match.

How Cody Defeated Wardlow

The cage match started with Cody using his speed to try and counter Wardlow’s power. Wardlow overpowered Cody and used the cage to punish the American Nightmare, busting him open. At one point Wardlow sent Cody to the floor pinning him between the cage and ring as MJF verbally berated Cody. Wardlow continued to take direction from MFJ and suplexed Cody all over the ring. Things looked bleak for the American Nightmare until he utilized his own power to ground Wardlow with a delayed suplex and cutter of his own.

Cody continued to come back with a series of shots to Wardlow in the corner. This offensive flurry was short-lived as a low blow from Wardlow turned the tides back in his favor. Wardlow capitalized on this momentum with an F10, sending Cody across the ring.  Cody was then tossed into the door of the cage sending it open. MJF and Arn Anderson approached the door with MJF daring Arn to hit Cody with the door. A callback to Arn and Ole AndersonRic Flair, and Dusty in a cage in 1985. Arn debated for a moment before hitting MJF with the door, sending him to the floor.  This distraction allowed Cody to recover and counter a powerbomb attempt from Wardlow. After three attempted clotheslines Cody took Wardlow off his feet. Wardlow charged back at Cody only to run into a power slam from the American Nightmare.

The Moonsault

Cody climbed to the top rope only to be tossed to the canvas before Wardlow hit a senton for a near fall. MJF slipped Wardlow the Dynamite Diamond Ring to use on Cody only for Cody to hit a low blow of his own. MJF began to scale the cage only to be hit with a chair by Brandi Rhodes. He confronted her before being tossed into the first row by Arn Anderson. The distraction allowed Cody to hit a Cross Rhodes for a near fall. Cody, fired up from his offensive flurry looked up to the top of the cage with intensity in his eyes. He climbed to the top of the cage and hit a moonsault from the top rope. Although he broke his toe on the landing, the move was enough to win the match as Cody defeated Wardlow in his home state.

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Post Show Promo

After going off the air Cody addressed the Atlanta crowd, calling the show the best Dynamite yet. Cody explained that he fell in love with wrestling in this very area. He told the story of being at a show with his dad and not understanding exactly why he was famous. As wrestlers headed back to their vehicles a crowd gathered to watch. Cody stepped out to go to Dusty’s truck, before Dusty stopped him and said “Never steal another man’s pop”. Dusty was given a huge ovation as he walked back to his vehicle.

A very emotional Cody explained how it made him want to be famous like his dad. He thanked the crowd for being tough on him when he debuted in 2007 as it made him want to come back stronger. He reiterated that TNT had extended Dynamite for three more years, and closed the promo by promising to come back to Atlanta for another show.

The first AEW cage match had a major storyline attached to it. The match also had a personal connection for Cody being in his home state and having some callbacks to his family’s wrestling legacy. Will we see the second cage match soon? Time will tell as AEW continues to make its mark on the wrestling landscape.

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